Williamsport, Pa. — While writing a paper for class about diversity in business, Abigail Traxler ’23 happened upon a program that promotes just that — women in finance.
“I instantly knew that I wanted to apply,” said Traxler. “Not only would this program bring me on-the-job experience and a network of other women, but I would learn finance and investment concepts to further expand on what I have learned in the classroom at Lycoming.”
Girls Who Invest (GWI) is a ten-week, competitive summer program designed to instruct, mentor, and support women in colleges and universities by providing educational courses and paid internships. According to the website, “Investment firms say they do not see enough resumes from women, so [GWI] is creating a pipeline of talented and motivated young women who are prepared to succeed in the industry.”
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With support from Lycoming faculty and with help in the application process from Anne Landon, associate director for career advising at Lycoming, Traxler was accepted into the program. Along with accepted students from other institutions, she spent the first four weeks remote, taking rigorous classes taught by leading investment professionals and professors from the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA. Topics covered accounting, valuation, financial modeling, asset allocation, and presentation and business etiquette.
“The future can be daunting to anyone, especially a college student,” Traxler said. “On the first day of the program, Seema Hingorani, the founder of GWI, advised us that what matters most is the steps you took to get where you are today.”
When able, Traxler attended coffee chats and community events in order to make connections with other scholars in the program. To finish off the educational portion of the program, students looked at Etsy, an online marketplace, and put together a stock pitch that involved their opinion on whether or not they would buy stock in the company. A panel of three industry professionals listened to the pitch, asked questions, and gave feedback.
For the final six weeks of the program, Traxler interned at Wellington Management Company as an Early Career Investor. She began each day reviewing market activity and tuning into Wellington’s company-wide morning meeting. When not with her team of mentors, analysts, and speakers, Traxler spent time researching an industry to present at the end of the internship. The findings will be key to the firm in making investment decisions.
“I begin and end every day feeling grateful for this opportunity,” said Traxler. “The program has inspired me to use my passion for helping others by encouraging other women to explore careers in finance.”
When asked what the program has done for her, Traxler replied that it has equipped her to enter the workforce as a capable, prepared, and knowledgeable professional. After graduation, she aims to take as many steps as necessary to lead an organization as a CEO. She takes inspiration from Jean Hynes, Wellington Management’s first female CEO.
“She demonstrates that women really can do anything,” said Traxler. “Not only are women underrepresented in finance, but women are underrepresented at the CEO level of top companies.”
Meanwhile, GWI seeks to have 30 percent of the world’s investable capital managed by women by the year 2030. “This program has really changed my life,” said Traxler.
In addition to a potentially life-changing internship opportunity, Traxler recently won the Miss Pennsylvania Collegiate America Pageant competition, and will advance to the national competition in Little Rock, Ark.
The Miss Pennsylvania Elementary, Jr. High, High School, and Collegiate America Pageant competitions exist for the purpose of providing personal and professional opportunities for Elementary, Jr High, High School, and College-Aged women who excel in academics and community service involvement.
During the next year, Traxler will promote the national anti-bullying platform, “B.R.A.V.E. - Building Respect and Values for Everyone,” with a state-wide women-in-business empowerment initiative.